St. Benedict's names director of special initiatives

Dan Eaton

St. Benedict's Homeless Shelter announced Dan Eaton will serve as the nonprofit's first director of special initiatives, effective Sept. 1.

Eaton will oversee operations at the new St. Benedict's Women & Family Services facility when it opens later this year at Ninth Street and Hickman Avenue. He will also handle grant writing, capital campaigns, corporate gifts, marketing, social media, volunteer development and a host of other duties.

"God has moved things around, and the timing is right for all of us," Harry Pedigo, St. Benedict's executive director, said of the newly created position.

Eaton is a native of Owensboro and longtime supporter of the homeless shelter.

Since 2015, he has worked nights at the facility 20 hours a week, checking in clients and assisting volunteers.

Before that, however, he volunteered five years for St. Benedict's. When Eaton started volunteering at the shelter it served about 30 men. Now, the men's facility holds 60 beds and provides emergency shelter for residents during White Flag events in winter.

"He's watched it all evolve," Pedigo said.

With the new day shelter for women and families, St. Benedict's is treading into new territory. Eaton's education and background made him the perfect candidate, Pedigo said. "God prepared him for this ministry."

For the past five years, Eaton has worked in case management at Daviess County Community Access Project, which helps local residents receive prescriptions drugs at no cost.

"Dan Eaton has faithfully served with me as an advocate for our community's vulnerable population in DC-CAP at Green River District Health Department for five years," said Suzanne Craig, who heads the program. "He is a champion for people who often don't have a voice or resources to get their needs met. I look forward to working with him as a wonderful community partner. St Benedict's is lucky to have his advocacy skills and leadership."

Eaton earned a history degree from Brescia University before completing a law degree at University of Kentucky. For a while, he attended a Catholic seminary.

He served as the children's minister at Owensboro Christian Church for 12 years.

Eaton is excited about working in partnership with Audubon Area Community Services on the new Women & Family Services unit. That collaboration gives the fledgling facility a leg up, he said. "Audubon Area will bring a lot of services to the table."

If all goes as planned, St. Benedict's new unit on Ninth Street may start serving clients as soon as Nov. 1. When it opens, the men's shelter plans to go 24/7, offering its clients the opportunity to work third-shift jobs for the first time.

Within a year after opening, the Women & Family Services unit may be in a position to provide overnight stays to single women, which is a current gap in services.

"It's been amazing to see the growth and changes," Eaton said of St. Benedict's. " ... We're incredibly excited to see what God is going to do with it."

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com.

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